3Qs: Noah Davis
Studio Museum Assistant Curator Lauren Haynes and artist Noah Davis in conversation:
Tell us about The Gardener (2009). Is it based on a real person?
The Gardener is Osiris, who ruled Egypt in a time of great cultural and agricultural prosperity. After being hoaxed by his brother Seth and seventy-two conspirators, he was made to enter a chest. The chest was then sealed shut and tossed into the Nile, where it became his coffin. It later washes up in Byblos and drifts ashore into the roots of a sapling. Strengthened by Osiris, the sapling grows in a single night into a tall and graceful tree. Osiris became the Egyptian God of the afterlife.
What’s your artistic training? Were you trained as a painter?
I think I’ve had more training on the administrative side than as a painter. I go to as many museums and galleries as possible. I’ve worked in museums and I believe that these experiences shaped me as a painter and artist.
You seem to have science fiction and fantasy elements in some of your works. Can you talk a bit about that?
I feel there is immense freedom in painting to create your own universe—if you don’t let “Art History” or pretense get in the way. I’m actually not a big science fiction guy at all, I’m more of a sappy romantic. These elements of fantasy may arise from my need to “break the spell,” or the constraints of art theory, and move more into the realm of mysticism.
- Story of the Eye (1928) by George Bataille
- The Ancient Rain: Poems, 1956–1978 (1981) by Bob Kaufman
- In Watermelon Sugar (1968) by Richard Brautigan Music: Erik Satie, Prince and Dipset circa 2005
- Cabin in the Sky (1943)
- Holy Mountain (1973)
- The Flower Thief (1960)
Febmag.com is a website I started with my brother, which we will be updating in February. It is dedicated to portraying Black people in a postmodern light.